Jilted by her faithless fiancée and at risk of cruel gossip from the debutantes and dowagers of London Society, life is not going as expected for beautiful Anthea Preston. Eager to leave the scandal behind, Anthea is heartbroken afresh when her beloved Mama dies of a sudden illness.
So she is delighted when her indulgent Papa offers to raise her spirits with a Grand Tour of Europe. Intelligent as well as extremely lovely to look at, Anthea is excited to see all the wonderful places that she has only ever read about.
Unfortunately fate has more in store for her. Whilst Anthea is away she receives a telegram to say that her father has unexpectedly married again and she has a new stepmother. To make things even worse her stepmother seems intent on marrying her off to the first rich man who offers – regardless of her feelings.
Thankfully, a chance meeting with the young and willful Lady Linette Hayworth brings Anthea the chance to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life. Torn between staying at home with the father she loves, despite her meddling stepmother, and onboard adventures as chaperone to Lintette, she quickly packs her bags and steals away into the night.
However, her new employer – the handsome Earl of Hayworth – is not all that he appears. A man of principles and family honour, dark secrets lurk in his past that not even his daughter knows about. Looking deeply into his amber eyes as he entrusts Linette to her care, Anthea is fascinated and eager to know more.
But a journey to Naples, and an advantageous business deal for the Earl, sets the wheels in motion for secrets to be revealed and dangerous liaisons made. As Linette and Anthea enjoy the Italian sun, both dreaming of true love, the darker side of business threatens to overshadow their joy. As the girls make happy plans for the future, the Earl prays that he can keep them safe from his business rivals and the dangers that stalk them all.